COURT OF COMMON PLEAS
STATE OF OHIO
NO. CR 64571
FOR DECLARATION OF
INNOCENCE AS A WRONGFULLY IMPRISONED INDIVIDUAL
Now comes Alan J. Davis, Special
Administrator of the Estate of Samuel H. Sheppard,
through undersigned counsel, and hereby
Honorable Court for an order, pursuant to Ohio Revised Code Section
declare Samuel H. Sheppard a wrongfully imprisoned person, for the
said Samuel H. Sheppard was convicted of second degree murder of his
Marilyn Sheppard, in 1954, spent nearly ten years in prison as a result
conviction, and, as the evidence will show by clear and convincing
actually innocent of this crime.
This Court, pursuant to Ohio Revised
Code Section 2305.02:
exclusive, original jurisdiction to hear and determine an action or
that is commenced by an individual who satisfies divisions (A) (1) to
(3) of section
2743.48 of the Revised Code and that seeks a determination by the court
the offense of which he was found guilty, including all lesser included
offenses, either was not committed by him or was not committed by any
basis for this Petition is as
1. Dr. Sheppard
indicted for murder in the first degree on August 17, 1954 in
the death of his wife, Marilyn Sheppard.
2. His trial
with a verdict of guilty of murder in the second degree on December 21,
and on January 3, 1955, he was sentenced to life imprisonment.
3. After a
appeals process, the United States Supreme Court in 1964, reversed the
conviction and ordered a new trial based on the unfairness of the trial
prejudicial role of the media.
4. On November 16, 1966,
Dr. Sheppard was
subject to a re-trial and found not guilty of the murder.
5. Dr. Sheppard
nearly ten years in Ohio
6. At the time
his arrest, Dr. Sheppard was a practicing physician, with a successful
the father of a young son, age seven, and a prominent member of the
The conviction and incarceration essentially ruined his life and caused
irreparable suffering for his son and other members of his family. Dr.
Sheppard, a once healthy and athletic man, died on April 6, 1970 at the
46, due in large part to the years of physical neglect, abuse and
anguish arising from this prosecution, imprisonment, separation from
society and career.
7. Despite his
in 1966, the
State of Ohio,
through the various law enforcement agencies involved in this case,
seriously entertained the notion of finding the actual killer of
Sheppard. While the case was technically open and unsolved, these
little more than filing reports of new information that would come to
attention, yet take no serious investigative action.
8. Between 1990
1995, Samuel Reese Sheppard, son of Dr. Sheppard; Cynthia Cooper, a
investigators from AMSEC, a professional investigative firm; and
counsel conducted a comprehensive and massive review of every aspect of
case. Witnesses, many of whom were never contacted by law enforcement,
interviewed. Police reports, forensic reports, and witness statements
provided the defense at trial, nor disclosed since, were obtained
Public Records Act requests and litigation. Contemporary forensic
consulted to review scientific evidence in the case, measuring the
in light of modern forensic science.
9. The result
to the conclusion that Dr. Sheppard is innocent of the murder of his
Marilyn, and that an individual named Richard Eberling currently
for the murder of another woman, is the likely murderer.
10. The critical evidence in
support of Dr.
Sheppard's innocence will be presented in the course of these
however a few major disclosures should be mentioned at this juncture:
(A) The killer
of Marilyn Sheppard left a trail of blood from the murder room
house, blood that could only have come from the oozing wound of the
newly disclosed police report reveals the existence and even collection
samples from this blood trail, but no testing was ever done for blood
Sheppard was immediately examined, and although he had serious neck and
internal injuries (as a result of his being assaulted by the killer),
wounds were found on his body. Marilyn Sheppard's teeth were pulled out
way that indicated she bit the person who was attacking her. Blood from
person was found in the murder room after testing by renowned
Paul Leland Kirk, who conducted an exhaustive search of the crime scene
1955. Richard Eberling, when arrested for a series of burglaries and
1959 (including the theft of Marilyn Sheppard's ring from the home of
Sheppard's brother), disclosed that he had cut his hand washing windows
Sheppard home, but gave conflicting times and dates as to when that
occurred. In 1990, investigators tracked down a co-worker of Eberling
insisted that he, not Eberling washed the windows at the Sheppard home
days before the murder. Incidentally, Eberling was not interrogated by
at the time of the murder, and in 1959, when Eberling was in custody,
were told to drop the matter by Coroner Gerber, Dr. Sheppard's
accuser, as well as John T. Corrigan, the County Prosecutor.
(B) A Scientific
Investigation Unit report, also never disclosed by the prosecution,
that there was fresh evidence of forcible entry through the cellar
finding was significant enough to require a plasticine impression of
damaged doorway. Yet, the prosecution's most powerful argument against
Sheppard was that there was no evidence of a break-in, and that Dr.
was the only one in the house at the time of the murder. That theory
can now be
debunked because the killer entered through the basement, an entry only
to a small number of people, including Eberling.
re-investigation focused on Richard Eberling as a suspect, who is now
life imprisonment for the murder of Ethel Durkin. Eberling has a long
documented history of psychosis and psychopathic symptoms, beginning
neurological impairment as a child. His medical, psychological, and
patterns are consistent with those of disturbed and even serial
investigation reveals other unsolved killings of women, including the
of Ms. Durkin and others, with striking similarities to, the Sheppard
Eberling was obsessed with Marilyn Sheppard as indicated by his focus
her ring. He was a jewel thief and burglar, and on the' night of the
jewelry and cash were taken from the home. He was jealous of the
their success in life, and the family he never had. He hated Dr.
his athletic accomplishments, and two athletic trophies were smashed to
floor on the night of the murder, evidence of hostility and hatred.
had a remarkable knowledge of the description of the property and the
furnishings, and as of 1992, was able to draw an architecturally
drawing of the property. He cannot truthfully account for his
the time of the murder. He fits all the available descriptions of the
including the build, the height, the large head, and the use of wigs.
police drawings derived from eyewitnesses who saw a man near the
that evening, reveal a similarity to Eberling. Finally, Eberling, who
number of interviews and corresponded with Cynthia Cooper since 1992,
obsessed with the Sheppard murder case and Marilyn Sheppard herself,
made statements such as "why do women fight back when they are
raped?" or "I'm looking at her now and she doesn't look
pregnant." There is evidence that Marilyn Sheppard was sexually
as inferred by her nightgown pushed above her abdomen, yet this aspect
never pursued by the police.
12. The evidence will show that
motive, opportunity, identity, and access to kill Marilyn Sheppard.
13. A review of all the
evidence demonstrates that Dr. Samuel H. Sheppard could not have
murdered his wife, had
no reason to murder his wife, and was a victim of a misdirected,
it is urged that this
Court undue this momentous injustice, declare Dr. Sheppard innocent,
a determination that he is a wrongfully imprisoned individual.
H. GILBERT (0021948)
of the Estate of Samuel H. Sheppard
1700 Standard Building
1370 Ontario Street
copy of the foregoing has been hand-delivered, this 19 day of
October, 1995, to
Stephanie Tubbs Jones, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor, at her office, Justice Center, 1200 Ontario
Street, Cleveland, Ohio 44113.
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